The push to keep job candidates' salary history private

The City Council in Philadelphia will soon consider a bill that would ban employers from asking job prospects about their salary histories, a move proponents say will help close the pay gap between men and women. That gap means women in the U.S. make 79 cents for every dollar a man makes, regardless of industry, occupation and education level, according to a 2015 report from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Basing someone’s wages on what they made at a previous job perpetuates gender-pay inequalities, argued William Greenlee, one of two Democrats who introduced the legislation on Thursday. “When a woman is paid less at the beginning of her career, she’ll continue to earn less throughout her career,” he said. “By eliminating the question of salary history, we will be one step closer to decreasing the wage gap.”

Massachusetts in August became the first jurisdiction to enact a salary-history ban, which is slated to go into effect on July 1, 2018. The new law will prevent pay discrimination for comparable work based on gender and prohibits employers from requiring applicants to provide their salary history before receiving a formal job offer.

Similar bills are also being considered in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, New York City and Washington, D.C.

In the U.S. Congress, the Paycheck Fairness Act has not been taken up for consideration by their respective committees in either the House or Senate since being introduced in March 2015. 

Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton sponsored a version of the bill while she was a New York senator, while Republican nominee Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka touted her father’s support of equal pay in in her speech at this summer’s Republican National Convention.

In May, Maryland’s Republican Governor Larry Hogan signed legislation banning employers from retaliating against workers who discuss their wages and from providing less-favorable advancement opportunities to women.